Workers Crave More than Currency

domination concepts with apples

Losing weight isn’t always fun. Dropping the pounds is rewarding, but the journey can be tough. Very tough.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get paid for your efforts? It turns out that doesn’t always entice employees, according to a new study.

Here’s a taste:

The study, published in January’s issue of the journal Health Affairs, reported the results of a yearlong randomized controlled trial to test the effectiveness of financial incentives to encourage weight loss among 197 obese employees of the University of Pennsylvania health system.

Participants were asked to lose 5% of their weight. Each was assigned to one of four study groups. The control group wasn’t offered any financial rewards. The three other groups were offered an incentive valued at $550.

People in one group were told they would begin receiving health insurance premium discounts biweekly immediately after reaching their weight loss goal. In another group, the people were told they would receive biweekly premium adjustments the following year if they reached their goal. Volunteers in the final group were eligible for a daily lottery payment if they met their daily weight loss goal and weighed in the previous day.

At year’s end, no group had met the 5% weight loss target. Participants’ average weight was virtually unchanged, whether or not they had a financial incentive to lose pounds. Nineteen percent of participants did meet the 5% target, but they weren’t concentrated in any particular group.

Survey: Employees Support Performance Pay

Performance pay is prevalent in some industries and among certain professions. According to a new survey, approximately a third of U.S. respondents currently fall into those categories with 40% indicating they would be more productive if some of their earnings were linked to performance outcomes.

There is widespread support for performance-based pay among employees in the United States, with nearly a third of respondents to an annual survey indicating their employment is compensated through a variable pay arrangement, and many others saying they would become more productive if they were.

According to the latest findings from the Kelly Global Workforce Index (KGWI), a total of 32 percent of U.S. respondents have their pay connected to some form of performance or productivity targets. The annual survey, conducted by Kelly Services, analyzed responses from more than 120,000 respondents in 31 countries, including nearly 12,000 in the United States.
Among those not on performance-based pay, 40 percent say they would be more productive if they had their earnings linked to performance/productivity outcomes.

Steve Armstrong, Senior Vice President and General Manager of U.S. Operations for Kelly Services said the trend reflects widespread recognition that organizations and individuals are most productive when their interests, including incentive-based pay, are aligned.

“There are many employees who are clearly confident in their ability to perform their jobs well, and they want the opportunity to be compensated according to their performance,” Armstrong said.

Results of the survey in the U.S also show:

– When asked to choose between pay for overtime worked, or pay-for-performance, respondents are almost evenly split, with 45 percent preferring pay-for-performance, and 49 percent choosing paid overtime.

– Less than half (39 percent) of those surveyed agree that their current pay is equitable.

– Among professional and technical employees, the highest rates of performance-based pay are in sales (68 percent), and marketing (44 percent). The lowest are in education (21 percent) and science (28 percent).